- Municipal Court
- Trial Procedures
INFORMATION FOR PLEAS OF "NOT GUILTY"
Plea of Not Guilty-A plea of not guilty means that you have a defense in your case, and that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt or that you have a defense in your case, and the State must prove what it has charged against you.
If you need a continuance for your trial, you must put the request in writing and submit it to the court with your reasons prior to trial. The judge will make a decision whether or not to grant the continuance. You may request a continuance for the following reasons:
- Religious holy day where the tenets of your religious organization prohibit members from participating in secular activities such as court proceedings, ( you must file n affidavit with the court stating this information); or
- that you feel it is necessary for justice in your case and why
Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a formal complaint has been filed. The complaint, rather than the citation, is the formal charging instrument, which alleges the specific offense.
- You have a right to inspect the complaint before trial and to have it read at trial.
- You have the right to have your case tried before a judge or a jury at your request.
- You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you.
- You have a right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against you.
- You have a right to testify on your own behalf. You also have a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. However, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you if you do testify.
- You may call witnesses to testify on your behalf. You also have the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. However, you must furnish the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of these witnesses to the Court at least 72 hours in advance so that the witnesses may be located and the subpoenas served.
PRESENTING THE CASE
As in all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you.
After each prosecution witness has finished his testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine the witness. Your examination must be in the form of questions and you must not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial.
After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case by calling witnesses, presenting physical evidence and/or testifying on your own behalf.
If the case is tried by the judge, the decision is called a judgment. If the case is tried by a jury, the decision is called a verdict. The judge or jury can consider only the testimony of witnesses under oath and any evidence admitted during the trial. If you are found guilty by either the judge or jury, the penalty will be announced at that time.